New York town could face $1 billion in lawsuits for alleged violations

© Alexei Novikov |

Current and former neighbors near a landfill owned by the town of Wheatfield, New York, are threatening to sue the town for a total of almost $1 billion, accusing it of failing to clean up a toxic landfill.

As of late January, 16 notices of claim had been filed, and the town says it expects more. Each of the notices demands $60 million in damages, amounting to $960 million. After filing, plaintiffs have 15 months to follow up with lawsuits.

Attorneys representing the plaintiffs, both current and former residents of Forbes Street in North Tonawanda, say their clients have experienced symptoms ranging from headaches, nausea, respiratory issues and nervous system disorders.

The plaintiffs claim waste has migrated off the site of the old Niagara Sanitation landfill into residential properties on and near Forbes Street. New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) disagrees with the claims. A March 2016 site update from the NYDEC notes, “Surface water is confined to the landfill in ponded areas and does not run off the site. No significant off-site contamination is anticipated due to a naturally existing clay layer beneath and around the landfill, which limits the migration of contaminants from the landfill.”

The DEC says it will continue to investigate and develop a cleanup plan.

Former company Niagara Sanitation allowed companies to use the landfill as a dump for chemical and industrial waste until 1968. It also received waste from the Love Canal landfill. Soil testing results paid for by residents allegedly confirm the presence of chemicals on their properties, including “Love Canal waste constituents that had migrated onto their properties.”

Cox Enterprises completes landfill-gas-to-energy facility

© Nakisa |

Cox Enterprises, Atlanta, has announced the completion of the New River Energy Facility in Beckley, West Virginia. The facility captures landfill gas to generate energy and reduce methane emissions. It has the capacity to annually offset 14,200 tons of carbon and to produce enough energy to power nearly 2,000 homes, according to the company.

The New River facility is part of Seven Islands Environmental Solutions, a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises.

Cox is partnering with the Raleigh County Solid Waste Authority (RCSWA) in Beckley to use the landfill gas for the beneficial purpose of energy generation rather than emitting it to the atmosphere. A system of wells captures the landfill gas, which the facility dries, cleans and compresses into a renewable fuel. The fuel is converted into electricity and fed into the local energy grid to power homes in the area.